My head hurts.
I’ve had a beer or two.
I had just sat down to eek out some words earlier when I got a message from a friend, asking if my partner and I were coming to a celebration tonight. Since we’d just sat down to dinner, the logical answer at the time was ‘no’. However, it was a celebration to see a friend who had hopped an ocean to come visit. We were upset that we hadn’t been notified sooner, but I wasn’t going to let that stop our fun. My partner was a little less agreeable. We still enjoyed ourselves immensely and got to spend time with some people we hadn’t seen in a long while – catch up, laugh, and enjoy some good beer and good company. The only trouble is that now I have to write.
What do I write about?
The idea flitting around my head right now is, “What makes a good love story?”
One of the blogs I’m following has been making several posts lately about “What do you look for in…” a number of different characters, environments, and scenarios. I really enjoy these posts because they really get me thinking. Often I get an idea and decide it sounds good to me, then just run with it. I don’t often stop to think about what elements really make a something good. This should be remedied.
Perhaps due to the mood of the evening or perhaps due to the point I’m at in my current story, the topic currently at the top of my mind is love stories. An oft over-used tale is the one of fate. Two star-crossed lovers who, love or hate one another upon first meeting, are destined to wind up together by the end. I’ve gone this direction in the past, but now I question the romance that actually goes into it. Isn’t it more special if, out of anyone in the world, you choose someone?
There are lots of tropes out there for romance – childhood friends that meet again as adults, some guy defeating the “friend-zone” by virtue of always being around.. particularly after being contrast with a complete jerk, etc. I’m sure you can think of a few. It’s really hard to come up with something that’s truly unique. However, even if your story houses a romance about a low-born governess who falls for her wealthy employer, there are ways to make your story stand out from the rest. I often think this comes from the depth of the characters (and the environment they’re in) themselves. If you write truly engaging and complex characters in an environment that hasn’t been done over a thousand times, your story will stand out – in my opinion. They devil’s in the details, is it not?
A convincing romance for me has a good hook, in which the writer actually reminds you of those blushing moments from your own experience. It also has a conflict that must be overcome, forcing the characters to grow as a couple, as well as individuals. Furthermore, both characters must be believably interested in one another. I don’t often buy into the stories where one character gives up all their vices, without looking back, because he or she has fallen for someone “pure”. I like characters who have vices.
What do you think makes a good love story?